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Thread: Studies/Pieces to build technique

  1. #1
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    Default Studies/Pieces to build technique

    Hello

    So I've been taking piano lessons for around 7 years.
    My teacher however, I don't feel was competent.
    She didn't seem very keen on fixing specific mistakes, and developing solid piano technique, or teaching any music theory other than fundamentals and reading music.
    After becoming quite bored with classical, I quit lessons to pursue jazz (I also play sax )
    However, I feel my technique is sorely lacking, especially considering how long I played.
    Everything is something I have to work at for a long time to learn. Even simple tunes are a struggle to get under my fingers.
    So I decided to start over with piano, trying to build good technique, repetoire, and more appreciation in classical music.
    So I have a few questions.
    1. What studies/exercises should I practice? I began with Hanon and I'm transposing them in all keys, is this a reasonable place to start?
    2. I find Baroque and Classical Era a chore to listen to and learn. My main interests in Art music are (Post) Romanticism, Impressionism, Beethoven, Phillip Glass Style stuff, and Avant-Garde. Is it neccesary to study all areas of classical music?
    3. Do you like ice cream cake?

    Sorry if this is asking too much.

    Have a nice day! (or night)

  2. #2
    Senior Member kv466's Avatar
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    I think Rasa will have a good answer for you, or Luke.

    As far as I can recommend, without truly knowing your level of play...get down as many Mozart sonatas as you can as well as the first 10 Beethoven...I would suggest some composers' etudes but I don't know if you're at that level yet. Either way, good luck and keep playing!

    Oh, and yes...I do like ice cream cake when it is hand-made. Maybe Coldstone, too.

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Etudes. Moscheles.
    I spent a fortune on deodorant before I realized that people don't like me anyway.

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    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
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    1)If you are looking for solid and musical etudes, I recommend Muzio Clementi's Gradus ad Parnassum. Stay away from the Sonatinas, they will only bore you. But Gradus ad Parnassum will be great for technique and it might bore your mind just a tad, but its far more interesting than Czerny or Kramer and it certainly will keep your fingers busy.

    Also, I know you said you don't like Baroque but have you tried Scarlatti sonatas? Rachmaninoff once told a pianist who quit for a while and was looking to build up their technique to go on a Scarlatti diet. Also, Chopin love those sonatas. These guys knew what they were talking about.

    2) Though the Clementi is classical era, surely classical era with technique building is better than just plain technique building with minimal musical substance as in Czerny. But if this idea doesn't thrill you, perhaps Scarlatti sonatas could be an exception to your baroque tastes, they have a lot of fun in them that doesn't happen in most Baroque and Classical music, they are unique.

    Now, here's the part of my answer that I'm hoping will appeal to you: if you want some 20th century stuff to learn, I can be of assistance in good easy pieces. Try Federico Mompou's Musica Callada. Or Alexander Tcherepnin's op. 5 bagatelles. Or Bartok! Lots of Bartok. These are all great examples of 20th century music but very easy stuff. Those three, do they sound interesting? Look for them! There are ways to build your technique and learn new music without playing any classical era at all, though most people wouldn't approve, but I personally find it interesting in a quirky way, and almost would do it myself if I didn't dig the classical and baroque periods so much. Who knows, maybe one day you'll discover who great a 20th century composer Medtner is and play him after you've done your Mompou, Tcherepnin, and Bartok business.

    3) I like the ice cream cake. Mint chocolate chip or cookie dough.
    Last edited by clavichorder; Nov-04-2011 at 01:53.

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    1. I sometimes use Hanon for warm-ups but never treated any of his pieces as serious exercises outside of working scales. Czerny, as clavichorder said, is good for technique but musically boring; if you can figure out exactly what your weak points are (finger articulation? Wrist relaxation? Garbling tone in the left hand?) then it is a simpler matter to target whichever Czerny exercise focuses on the problem, instead of systematically going through an entire exercise book, which is mostly going to be a mundane waste of your time.

    2. I don't philosophically think that it's necessary to study every era, though I do think that the different musical eras supplement each other and it's a good idea to understand all of them as much as possible before deciding to specialize. If you learn Bach, your Debussy will improve.

    3. God yes.

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    Senior Member Rasa's Avatar
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    Best way is to follow an exercise sched (like Hanon) and play scales and arpeggios really. I have this nice book for scales and arpeggios with good fingerings. it's important to always practice with the same fingering.

    The big studies collections are great: Chopin are pieces with technique, and Rachmaninov's are even better at that. It's really a joy to discover each tableau
    Last edited by Rasa; Nov-04-2011 at 23:29.

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    Ice cream + cake is the worst possible combination. I'll eat them both at the same time if they're in separate bowls, but keeps that crumby cake of my heavenly ice cream!

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    Thanks for all the suggestions
    Considering there's 555 Scarlatti sonatas, it'll probably be hard to get through them all, so is there any recommended order of study/difficulty?

    And aganram, what exactly do you mean by "working scales"?

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    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
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    For Scarlatti sonatas, just check out this edition, now instead of 555 you have 60 well chosen ones. Poke around in it to get a sense of what's more difficult, and ask your teacher which ones she would recommend.

    http://www.amazon.com/SONATAS-Schirm...0447698&sr=1-2
    Last edited by clavichorder; Nov-05-2011 at 00:05.

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    Get a new teacher. One that is more competent (of course that is judged only by your personal opinion), and has more attantion to detail (of course that is also judged only by your personal opinion). And i don't like ice cream AND cake, but ice cream cake (a cake made out of ice cream) is nice, though i won't have it too often

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    OrangeSkies, technique and musicality go together, like body & soul !
    So working hard scales, arpeggios and patterns is one thing, but I had an advice : work pianistic techniques through the famous composer's masterworks ! Concerning the interpretation listen again & again to music for hours, weeks and years, cause this is the best teaching, believe me...

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    Luckily my teachers never made me practise scales and arpeggios. You get a good technique by playing the pieces you want to. It will come automatically. You don't need endless Czerny études to become a good pianist.
    Just play whatever you like to do. Even if it's too hard, learn to love to read sheet music. It's good for your reading skills and if you really want to play something you will achieve it one day, I can tell from experience Besides, it's more fun if you study the masterworks.
    Throw youself in the deep end.
    Practising is the key word.

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    Senior Member Rasa's Avatar
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    Then again, you get to play the pieces you want a lot faster if you already have a solid hand built by exercises. It's a timesaver.
    I can't play Debussy étude

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    Yes but the scales you practise are in general different than the scales in other pieces...
    Studying etudes for technique also costs time. I don't think it matters that much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Polednice View Post
    Ice cream + cake is the worst possible combination. I'll eat them both at the same time if they're in separate bowls, but keeps that crumby cake of my heavenly ice cream!
    Ice Cream Cake, next to Apple Pie, is my favorite dessert!

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